Savills pioneers next-level virtual property tours in Hong Kong
Clients viewing 3D interactive models can see the whole property, tenants, and community.
A picture can paint a thousand words, but it is just not the same as standing within the walls of the place you are looking to rent or buy—much more so if it is in a financial centre like Hong Kong. As a hub for foreign ex-pats and multinational corporations, Hong Kong needs to cater to potential real estate clients from all across the globe, so real estate firm Savills Hong Kong launched its interactive 3D models to allow clients a virtual tour of a place before committing to rent or buy.
Through this technology, Savills is able to provide the near experience of standing and moving about that space as if the client has already moved in.
Godfrey Cheng, deputy senior director of Savills Hong Kong, said travelling constraints brought at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic gave Savills the reason to come up with this new service.
“People, especially those from Singapore and our overseas clients, cannot go to Hong Kong physically at the time,” Cheng told Hong Kong Business. “We found this tool which offers property tours virtually so that the client could just click on the link and browse all kinds of information they may need.”
Transforming real estate investments
Whilst the technology for 3D space capture has been available since the mid-2010s, Savills’s new technology has gone beyond the limitations of just touring a single space. Its technology allows clients to view whole buildings, as well as nearby tenants who might well be their next neighbours.
“It is quite different from what we found on the market previously, which is only the Matterport-type virtual tour,” Cheng said. This technology has been on the market for five to six years, he noted, but usually only has a link to a single unit or a single floor.
To offer its new service, Savills teamed up with startup Inspace XR, which makes use of virtual reality and augmented reality to create interactive 3D models for the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction) industries. This allows Savills to bring forth interactive, high-fidelity VR experiences to buyers, tenants and stakeholders beyond the confines of geography.
“For our 3D model, what we do is find the keywords that integrate all the elements in one link. An investor could just click a link, and they will be able to virtually visit the property,” Cheng explained.
He gave the magazine a tour of the service, which gives a view not just of the building’s interface, but also information regarding which tenants are in the property, for example. It also gives an overview of nearby infrastructure and buildings, even those that have not yet been fully built.
For clients, Savills Hong Kong tailors a link to show them the keywords or details they may particularly want to know. about.
“This saves a lot of time for our tenants and buyers before they actually physically install in the property, because it saves them a lot of time from travelling,” Cheng said.
More than anything, the service positions Savills as a pioneer of interactive 3D model technology in the Hong Kong and Greater China real estate industry.
“As the first real estate services firm to formally adopt the interactive 3D model technology, we firmly believe it will prevail in the industry,” Raymond Lee, CEO, Greater China of Savills, remarked during the launch of the service.
“Working with Inspace XR, we hope to pioneer this technological breakthrough in our business operations in property investment, leasing and property management advisory, with a view to promoting the technology to a wider circle of asset management companies, REITs and developers that leads to the digital transformation of the local real estate industry,” Lee said.